THE Irish Mail on Sunday deliberately tried to pass itself off as the Sunday Tribune with a look-a-like front page days after a receiver was appointed to the Tribune, a court has been told.
In a move described in court as "brazen and outrageous", the British-owned Mail published thousands of copies of its Irish Sunday edition with a front page carrying the Sunday Tribune title.
A lawyer for the receiver appointed to the Sunday Tribune on February 1 said his client will be seeking exemplary damages over what was a "direct attack" on the goodwill of the newspaper.
Counsel for the Mail said the Tribune was "a dead man walking, if it was even walkingf" at the time.
The Tribune receiver Jim Luby has brought proceedings in the Commercial Court over the publication of issues of the Irish Mail on Sunday on February 6 in which they were made to look like the Sunday Tribune.
His lawyer said it was probably the most outrageous and brazen example of "passing-off" to come before the courts in recent years.
It was an extremely cynical and outrageous attempt to target and divert readers of the Sunday Tribune to another newspaper, Mr Luby said in an affadavit.
The publication was clearly intended to confuse or deceive members of the public, he said.
The actions gave rise to widespread confusion and had undermined his efforts to sell the Sunday Tribune.
It had been decided not to publish the Tribune on February 6 as he was unable to obtain libel insurance cover.
Mr Luby also said the Mail had issued a circular to newsagents asking them to display the alternative newspaper in the position normally reserved for the Sunday Tribune
Neil Steen, for Associated Newspapers (Ireland) Ltd, trading as the Irish Mail On Sunday, said the Sunday Tribune was "a dead man walking, if it was even walking" at the time of the disputed publication.
Counsel submitted the proceedings were more appropriate for the Circuit Court.
The judge said he would transfer the proceedings to the fast-track Commercial Court as it was admissible.
He directed the security of costs matter be heard on March 21.